Bird Watching

Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary

Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary
-Dr.Susan Sharma

Take a peep into the Beautiful Kedar Valley.   It got devastated by the recent floods of June 2013.  It needs Healing.   Here is a call to join an Effort to Rebuild.   A call to all members and visitors of  http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com



The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in biological diversity. The villagers are fully dependent on forest resources, especially ethno medicines.   The conservation of plant biodiversity in the Indian Himalayan region has become a major concern; the knowledge of indigenous uses of native plants needs to be studied before it gets extinct.  



The rivers and streams of the sanctuary are perennial in nature due to thick forest cover and heavy precipitation. Vegetative cover slows the speed of falling rain and prevents soil erosion and gully formation — the precursors to landslides and floods.  Dense vegetation, by evapo-transpiration, also stops nearly 30-40 per cent of rainwater from falling to the ground, thereby significantly reducing run-off. Besides holding the soil together, forests and soil soak water from the rain, release it slowly and prevent water flowing as run-off.

The sanctuary has a large number of temples located within its precincts. Kedarnath temple is the most historic of these and is visited by a over 6 lacs pilgrims a year during a window of 6 months. This temple dates to the 8th century. The entire 14 km route from Gauri Khund to Kedarnath temple passes through the sanctuary.    The sanctuary has a musk deer breeding centre. Musk deer is valued for its glands , the secretion of which , is used in the perfume industry. Musk deer is highly endangered. There is also a high-altitude botanical field station established at Tungnath.
The sanctuary harbours extensive alpine meadows and several dense broad leaved oak mixed forest. A total of one hundred and fifty two species of ethno medicinal plants have been compiled.  


If you are interested in a more detailed presentation, please click on the link below

http://www.slideshare.net/susansharma/kedarnath-wild-life-sanctuary

All the photographs in this slide show except the one of Mandakini Magpie Bird Watcher’s Camp were taken in 2004, by Shashi Sharma. The photo of the Camp was taken by Mousree Ganguli just two days before the floods ravaged it, in June 2013. 

You can read a trip report on the camp at this link http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/UserContent/Trip-Report- Details.aspx?rid=544

 Let us make a beginning. Help Mr. Yashpal Negi rebuild the Magpie Birdwatchers camp.

Help rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird Watchers’ Camp Send money to 
Yashpal Singh Negi
 Kakragad, PO Bhiri, 
Dist. Rudraprayag Uttarakhand 246419, India
 Mobile No. 09412909399
 Bank Acctt. Detail State Bank Of India - Bhiri, Code - 9834,Saving Acctt. No. 11442534733

 Those who contribute more than Rs 1000/- may send in their name, email id , date and amount of credit to susan_sharma@hotmail.com. IndianWildlifeClub .com will send a high resolution copy of ‘ Morning Glory at Kedarnath” (first photograph) to each one of them. 

Bird Watching

Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary-an update


Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary-An update
-Susan Sharma

IWC presentation on slide share has got over 1400 views as of now and donations have been coming into Yashpal Negi's account.  I have confirmed this in a talk with Mr. Negi.  Mr. Negi and his village in Kakragad do not have Internet facility and communication lines are cut off except for the mobile phone.  Mr Negi plans to rebuild Mandakini Bird camp near his own house in the village which is further removed from the banks of Mandakini River. 

I have also received a report from Santanil Ganguli * who organized a theatre performance in aid of Mandakini Bird Camp.
Here is the report. 

Friday, July 12, 2013, Jhalapala* had organized a small event at Tripti Mitra Theatre Hall, Kolkata to raise fund for the victims of Uttarakhand. Simultaneously this event aimed at bringing awareness among children and elders about the environment and our attitude towards it.


The event started with author and environmentalist Shilanjon Bhattacharya placing his views to the audience. He discussed the changing relation between man and environment very lucidly. He told us how the harm is inflicted in the name of development, right from the Himalays to the Sunderbans. He also pointed out the daily habits that endanger the environment and subsequently our very existence.


The second half of the event featured a play by Jhalapala. Jhalapala is staging plays for children for the last 17 years. This day they chose to stage the DUSHTU BAGH (Naughty Tiger) based on the story of Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury.  As the play progressed it also became more and more evident how we are continuing to disrupt the natural balance and polluting the environment. With the help of interesting narrative style the play categorically points out to us our selfish attitude towards the environment and its dire consequences.


At the end of the event a sheet was spread on which everyone donated as their means permitted for the victims of Uttarkhand. The organizers promised that after adding personally collected amount to this fund, it will be sent to Mr. Yashpal Singh Negi of Kakorgad, Uttarakhand, so that everyone’s favourite Mandakini Magpie Bird Watcher’s Camp can be restored.  

Help rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird Watchers’ Camp Send money to 
Yashpal Singh Negi
 Kakragad, PO Bhiri, 
Dist. Rudraprayag Uttarakhand 246419, India
 Mobile No. 09412909399
 Bank Acctt. Detail State Bank Of India - Bhiri, Code - 9834,Saving Acctt. No. 11442534733

 Those who contribute more than Rs 1000/- may send in their name, email id , date and amount of credit to susan_sharma@hotmail.com. IndianWildlifeClub .com will send a high resolution copy of ‘ Morning Glory at Kedarnath” to each one of them. 
*
The Telegraph, Calcutta
Jhalapala, a children’s theatre group from Dum Dum, has blended theatre with the art of patas to add a new dimension to theatre viewing. “Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury’s works have that strength and simplicity of folk art like patachitras — people from all sections of society can understand and enjoy them,” said director Santanil Ganguly.

Eco-travel

Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary with Vijay Cavale


More birding in Uttarakhand… June, 2012
-Vijay Cavale


“Plenty of these colorful Himalayan Monals around the Tungnath Temple area!” 

Sarwandeep Singh a keen birder who lives in Delhi had planned to visit the Kedarnath Wildlife Santuary area for some summer birding. I was happy to join him on this trip. I was waiting to test the D4 in low light conditions! I flew down to Delhi from Bangalore on the 12th of June 2012 and reached Delhi after sunset. Sarwan ensured that my brief halt in Delhi was very comfortable and we left Delhi in his vehicle at 3.30 am on the 13th and headed straight towards “ Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary” which is about 400 kms by road.

By late noon, after crossing Haridwar, we reached Srinagar in Uttarakhand for Lunch. The temperature was close to 48*C and we were looking forward to reaching the cool mountains as soon as possible. After lunch, by about 2.30 pm we reached the “Magpie Birding Camp” at Kakragad, Bhiri, Rudraprayag. We made a brief halt there and met with Yeshpal Negi who runs this place. Negi is an authority on the birds of this area and is happy to host and guide bird-enthusiasts who approach him for help.

“Yeshpal Negi runs the Magpie Birding Camp at Rudraprayag” 

Sarwan had stayed with Negi before and this time had decided to spend that night in a small place a little higher up along the road. At about 3.30 pm we made our first halt for photography. The area was full of birds, all residents, many of which I had never seen before. I felt good shooting some of these beauties with the Nikon D4!

That night as the sun set we checked into our rooms and over dinner met with Arun P Singh (WII) and family who were holidaying in the area. 

14th June we walked around a bit and drove around the area, plenty of lifers for me as I got acclimatized to the area. Arun, his wife and son were keen nature lovers and together the five of us enjoyed a couple of days of intense birding in this part of Himalayas. We found some interesting mammals too!

“These Himalayan Thars thrive in habitats that are inaccessible to other mammals” 

“The Grey Ghoral of the Western Himalayas!” 


“Yellow-throated Marten” 

That night we shifted to another accommodation along the road and would spend the next three nights there…Here, we met Sahas Barve and his companion, keen young researchers who were collecting data on Tits of the area. 

On 15th Negi joined us and the six of us climbed up to the “ Tunganath Temple” from Chopta. Such a lovely place. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. A wonderful day’s birding with plenty of good memories and my first sighting of the Monal!

On the 16th Sarwan and myself drove over to Negi’s camp and birded with him till 3pm. He served us some delicious breakfast and lunch and pointed us to many a bird specie found around his camp. We continued to bird all the way back to our Rest House. Another day of fine birding!

On this trip most of our birding was around the “Magpie Birding Camp”, along the road from Kakragad, Bhiri to Chopta, Tungnath Temple area and parts of Kedarnath Wildlife Santuary that has the main road access and a brief climb at Monal Point. If you have a vehicle you can just drive along the road and you will encounter plenty of birdlife all along the road. Many of the “Dhabas” you come across as you drive will offer you decent food and basic accommodation. Of course you can contact Negi for help … his current numbers are 09412909399 and 09720709499.

17th early morning, 5am, we were on our way back to Delhi. It was the longest drive of my life! I checked into a hotel near the Delhi Airport at 1 am on the 18th! My previous record was 18hrs from Tadoba to Bandhavghar! This 21hrs on the road was mainly due to heavy weekend traffic all along the route! This cannot be explained only experienced!!

18th Afternoon I was back home after yet another of those endurance tests! The effort feels justified when I look at the images of all those wonderful birds we encountered. Happy to share them with you here! Please click on the link below for the images


Environment Education

Participants of BNHS Online Courses

Online Environmental Courses

Our Club is proud that 24 of our members are enrolled in the one year certificate programs offered by BNHS.  
All twenty four of them, leaders in their own right,  are now poised to take on  larger roles to protect the environment around them.  Team IWC and the Community of 6300+ members wish them the very best for the future.  Team IWC request you to 
feel free to share your unique experiences in learning at the premier Natural History Organization in the country(BNHS) with IWC members.  You can do this effortlessly by  using our member upload features. 


Participants of Ornithology appreciating Birds during a Nature Trail



Here are brief details about the participants.

Program BCO

Chetan Ramamrthy (chetan.ramamurthy@outloook.com)  

Chetan is a software developer and enjoys field bird watching and photography.  
He wants a more formal and scientific understanding of birds and its habitats so that he can contribute to its conservation and also improve his photography.  He would like to introduce more youngsters into ornithology and guide them towards conservation of the wildlife.

Dr.T.S Rawal (tsrawal@gmail.com) 

A chartered accountant by profession, Dr. Rawal is a birder and bird photographer for long.  To his credit are some of the rarest sightings, such as Red Phalarope, and Caspian Plover. He also has to his credit sightings of birds in Nagpur which were never recorded in Nagpur before ( such as Eurasian Hobby, Blue throated Blue Flycatcher, Rubythroat ) His bird pics have been published in many publications- More than 300 images in Oriental Bird Images database.  
He expects the course to provide him the theoretical foundation which will help him do better in the field work that he is already  doing.    He has trained Forest officers and guides in identifying birds, has held courses on birding for students, and has been helping people know birds.

Deepak Rajanna (deepakar@gmail.com) 

A software professional, Deepak has been a keen bird watcher from his childhood days but never got a chance to formally earn ornithology.  Even with his limited knowledge he has converted many of his friends and relatives into birdwatchers. With the knowledge he gains from the course he intends to convert many more people.

Naveen Shanmugaraj (airfoil@gmail.com) 

Naveen is a businessman and has been a past member of the Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh, between 1990-93.  He hopes to gain a better understanding of the avian fauna  through the course.  He also plans to contribute to BNHS with survey/photographs  and participate in BNHS programmes.

Ajay Jaisinghani (ajayjaisin@gmail.com)  

Ajay is an entrepreneur who wishes to learn about birds and identify birds in the neighbourhood.  He wishes to be part of the birding community and educate others about birds and ornithology. 

Pallavi Kaiwar (kaiwar.pallavi@gmail.com)  

Pallavi is Director, Engineering and looks forward to gain basic understanding of birding.  She would like to support scientific research and society education.  

Jaishankar V (jaishankar@vanamitra.org)  

Jaishankar is the trustee of a wildlife conservation NGO.  He wants to learn more about birds, especially their migratory patterns and the season, Food habits, Breeding etc.  He plans involving more people in to ornithology by creating awareness and also protection of habitat by involving Common people.
 
Nakul Gupta (nakul.gupta@ge.com)
Nakul is a Sales Director.  He has been an amateur ornithologist since age 13. He is a member of the Delhi Bird Club and 

participates in birding trips on weekends. He also maintains an album of his bird photographs and regularly visits national parks and the Himalayas for birding. He wants to gain a formal theory cum practical foundation to ornithology which would help hone his knowledge in this domain. He is very keen to contribute to the body of scientific research in the field of ornithology by writing research based papers. He would also like to apply the learnings from this course in promoting awareness about birds and would like to contribute actively towards preservation of bird habitats and wildlife conservation.

Vikram Batra (vikrambatrairs@gmail.com)  

Vikram is a senior Government servant.  he has been bird watching for a few years but it has been in fits and starts. he was 

a regular at the Ohkla Bird Sanctuary in Noida(UP) and has visited Keoladeo Ghana at Bharatpur also a couple of times.   He would like to get more involved with the process of bird watching and learn more about bird species in terms of the role of birds in the eco system, their different characteristics. Birds are a good indicators of the changes taking place in the environment, globally.  He hopes to be involved in conservation efforts and doing his bit to spread the message about the importance of birds.

Santosh B.S (santosh.badri@gmail.com)  

Santosh is an IT-Business analyst. and considers himself a novice bird watcher who often is found in the field.   
He  hopes to learn in detail the behaviors and other secrets of the avian world.  He plans to "Share / Educate / Empower".  

Sasidhar Akkiraju (sakkiraju@gmail.com)  

Sasidhar is a product mananger in IT.  He wants to get a good grasp of the right methods for learning more about birds.  
He intends to spend considerable amount of time and effort studying bird behavior.

Shobita Asthana (shobita.asthana@gmail.com)   
Shobita is a teacher who wants to earn about Birds besides environment.  She plans to sensitise people and children in particular about the environment.



Mr. Kaustubh Bhagat Interacting with Participants of Herpetology Course.

Program BCH

Amatya Sharma (conservewithme@gmail.com)   

Still a student, he has already attended  workshops with TGMP (The Gerry Martin Project)at ARRS (Agumbe), Hunsur, MCBT (Madras Crocodile Bank Trust);Venom extraction projects with Romulus Whitaker at Leporiang, Arunachal Pradesh and Wayanad,Kerala.   Workshops with Herpactive, in Goa and Karnataka. He hopes to equip himself with the required skills and knowledge which are essential for a Herpitologist.  He wishes to spread awareness among the common man with regards to the importance of herps in our ecosystem. Reduction of Man-Herp conflict is another of his aims.  In future he would like to conduct some research on reptiles and  amphibians.

Girish K (girish.cfc@gmail.com)  

Girish is a Senior Control Engineer.  He has volunteered in rescuing snakes and releasing them in wild with People for Animals Organization at Bangalore.  Their task was to rescue snakes(russell viper, spectacled cobra, rat snake, etc) from human habitat and release them in a protected Sanctuary.  He is  expecting to learn various behaviors of the amphibians and reptiles. How to carefully handle them. He would like to educate people(living in urban and rural area) regarding the wonderful world of amphibians and reptiles. Solve human - herp conflict. Rescue snakes and release them in protected area. 

Avinash Vora (avora1386@gmail.com)   

An executive trainee, Avinash is interested in learning herpetology. 

Shweta Dhiman (dhiman.shweta@gmail.com)  

Shweta is an iT co-ordinator who wants to  learn the basics of herpetology and to be able to apply them in the welfare and conservation of herps.   She would apply her knowledge in conservation of the herps and reptiles in what ever way she can. 
Also she would be able to educate people about the existence and importance of these animals around us.

Shaunak B.Modi (shaunak@projectbiwan.com)  

Shaunak is a partner in a clothing firm and though Ihe has a keen interest in wildlife, most of his knowledge  is about the big cats. He expects to change that by taking this course.  From this course he expects most to learn about crocodiles, turtles and snakes, which are some of his favourite herpeto-fauna.  Human-Wildlife conflict is one of the most serious issues affecting all wildlife populations in India. Though Man-Leopard/Tiger conflict gets attention in the news media, he has not noticed the same about herpeto-fauna.He would  like  to understand this issue better and help in creating awareness and also help in any way he can, people who are working in field for it.

Aneesha Kumar(aneeshak@gmail.com)  

Aneesha is a research analyst.  Acquiring knowledge through research and field experience in the basics of herpetology is the purpose for joining the course, besides opportunity to explore diverse habitats for learning and photography.    She plans to volunteer at organizations involved with nature and habitat conservation. 


Ms. Priti Choghale, Interacting with the LCBC participants on the Nature Trail

Program LCBC

Sophia Kurien (sophiakp@yahoo.com)  

Sophia is a Denist Professor, who has volunteered with centre for wildlife studies for counting prey species in Nagerhole, Bangalore, tree planting and organising conservation related seminars in schools for children with wild forever foundation.  She hopes to better understand wildlife and how to contribute to conservation by doing the course.  She plans organising educational workshops in India and Austria for wildlife conservation.

 A.Srinivas Ravi Kumar (ravikumar707@yahoo.com)  

A Sales Manager, Srinivas wishes to have an understanding on the conservation of bio diversity and contribute to it. 

Bhagyashri More (bhagyashrimore029@gmail.com)   

Bhagyashri is a biotechnologist who wishes to have field experience in wildlife science.  She would love to work with NGOs and take up nature conservation projects.

.Manasi Sapre (saprem.ms@gmail.com)  

Manasi is in the media industry and would like to learn the basic tools of nature conservation.  She  would like to contribute to natural conservation full time eventually.

Program  BCE. 

Anoop (pranksta7@gmail.com)  

Anoop is an associate HR.  He wants to learn more about nature, and help them not to be a memory.  After the course he would have a different persepctive, he would love to research on insects and their whereabouts. Insects fascinate him.
 

Forest and trees

A Tribute to Wangari Mathai


A tribute to Wangari Mathai
-Marianne de Nazareth

(The month of July is Monsoon month for most areas in India and tree planting drives are in full swing in many places.  It is also the right time to remember Wangari Mathai).


The founder of the Green Belt Movement way back in 1977 when the word green did not even exist in our minds, Wangari planted over 30 million trees in Africa to help women in rural Kenya to plant trees as a means of improving their livelihoods through better access to clean water, firewood for cooking and other resources. Since then, the Green Belt Movement has planted over 30 million trees in Africa and assisted nearly 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and plant trees to reverse the effects of deforestation.

Just imagine those full grown trees today, waving their branches in tribute to the woman who planted them and left them as her legacy of green gold to Africa.


Professor Maathai was the inspiration behind UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign, which was launched in 2006. She became a patron of the campaign, inspiring thousands of people across the world to plant trees for the benefit of their communities. To date, over 11 billion trees have been planted as part of the campaign.

In 2004, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized Professor Maathai’s lifelong commitment to environmental sustainability and the empowerment of women by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first environmentalist and the first African woman to receive the honour. 

 Famous for founding what is known as the Green Belt Movement, Wangaari explains during an interview held in Bali during the 11th Special session of the governing council/ global ministerial environment forum Bali, Indonesia in February 2010, how she mobilized the help of poor women to plant 30 million trees as her fight against the desertification of Africa.
I have done several stories on Professor Wangaari. If she could do what she did in the '60's whats stopping us women in the 21st century? Hers was single minded determination, she did not need any spineless man to support her.

Wangari Mathai passed away in 2011.


Marianne de Nazareth writes a blog at

News and Views

News and Views

News............

Kedar Valley refuses to leave the mind space of nature lovers.  The effort to rebuild the valley by tree plantation, building eco -lodges away from flood plains and giving employment to local people will take a long time.  Let us make a small beginning. 
Help Yashpal Negi rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird Watchers Camp at a place safely away from the earlier camp, which was washed away by the floods.  ( All but the kitchen which rested on a rock,  is gone, says Yashpal Negi).  Bird watchers who stayed with him in the past, vouch for his passion.  He talked to us for an hour almost about his birds and bird photos when we called him.  The conversation which started with "we have very little food to go by" ended with how six of his photos are gracing the Oriental Bird Images Database.  Hunger and pain forgotten while talking about a shared passion. 
  
IndianWildlifeClub has been running a campaign to help Yashpal Negi.  
Help rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird Watchers’ Camp Send money to 
Yashpal Singh Negi
 Kakragad, PO Bhiri, 
Dist. Rudraprayag Uttarakhand 246419, India
 Mobile No. 09412909399
 Bank Acctt. Detail State Bank of India - Bhiri, Code - 9834, Saving Acctt. No. 11442534733

See our presentation and share it with your friends


...and Views.............

Has anyone heard the views or recorded the views of the ordinary man on the road, about the development projects of Uttarakhand?  Saraswati Kavula in her trip reports on the trail of the Ganga, did.   Listen carefully while you read.

On a trail of the Ganga - (PART 1) Ganga after Tehri Dam


On a trail of the Ganga - PART 1I


On a trail of the Ganga Part III


On a trail of the Ganga-Part IV


On a trail of the Ganga - Part V


On a trail of the Ganga - Part VI



Golden oak tree leaves

The above photo was taken in 2009, of the golden oak branch I brought from Auli.


I took the photo again, in  June 2013.

The sturdiness of the branch and the leaves amazed me.  The leaves had been left in a corner without any care.  There was no disintegration.  No brittleness.  No insects.  Very little discoloration

I wish someone will make a count of the number of golden oak trees felled to make way for development in Uttarakhand. 


And last but not the least, here is something you can do from your desktop to help screen our film "Living With the Park" at the WILD-10 Conference in Spain.

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan is perhaps the most popular tourist destination to watch tigers in the wild. But despite the tourist dollars, the Park's main attraction, the Bengal Tiger is in danger of getting decimated here. Is it time we looked outside the park for the reasons, at the humanity which is living outside, their lives still connected to the Park- the people who are living with the Park?

Can we integrate life outside the Park with efforts at preservation?

Watch and like the promo of our film on you tube.   Please make sure you click the like button (thumbs up) below the video. 

Wilderness Volunteers

The Centre for Wildlife Studies


The Centre for Wildlife Studies-Kirti Karanth


The Centre for Wildlife Studies is conducting field based surveys in Maharashtra from August 31st to September 30th.
They are looking for volunteers to help in data collection along with the research team. Volunteers will have to be fluent in 
Marathi, work in teams, visit villages and experience rural India apart from being interested in wildlife. Good people skills 
are extremely important both for the research and ability to work as part of a team with other volunteers. Candidates will be 
selected after a screening of their applications to judge their suitability for doing the work.

Candidates must be
1. Age group: 18-45 years.
2. Physically very fit and have some experience in hiking through rough countryside.
3. Fluent in Marathi and have a reasonably good ability to interact with people.
4. Be willing to work long and arduous hours (we typically work 8-12 hour days).

Simple vegetarian food and rudimentary field accommodation is available. Travel expenses to and from field sites will have 
to be borne by the participants.
If you are interested, please contact Ms. Rachana Patwardhan with the following information ONLY in the exact format 
below providing all requested information.
1. Name
2. Age
3. Gender
4. Have you participated in Wildlife Conservation Society or Centre for Wildlife Studies field surveys? If Yes- provide 
details on what year, which field site and who was the supervisor.
5. Marathi fluency level- fluent, somewhat fluent and not fluent for speaking, reading and writing.
6. Where do you live?
7. Why do you want to volunteer?
8. Field Work Dates: The work will commence in August 2013. If you are interested in volunteering for the first two batches 
or later on please apply.

Batch 1: 31st August to 9th September

Batch 2: 7th September to 16th Sept

Batch 3: 14th Sept to 23rd Sept

Additional batches will be posted. If you are interested send us the exact dates of availability.

9. Contact email and phone number.

To know more and to apply, please email rachana.cws@gmail.com




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